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24 Nov 2009 07:40
Solidarity will attempt to limit job losses at Anglo Platinum’s Rustenburg operations, the trade union said on Monday.
In a statement, it said mining contractor JIC Mining Services had released a Section 189 notice stating that it planned to retrench 662, or nearly 10,4%, of its nearly 6 300 employees.
“This comes after the announcement by Anglo Platinum’s Rustenburg Platinum Mines that the contract with JIC would not be renewed,” the trade union said.
The contract was set to expire on December 31 this year.
“All the employees who could be affected by the planned retrenchments currently work at Rustenburg platinum mine’s Tumela West and Central mines.
“JIC management has already indicated that everything possible would be done to avoid the planned retrenchment.”
Solidarity said transfers were currently being considered as an alternative, but it was not yet clear how many employees would avoid retrenchment in this manner.
According to Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, these retrenchments formed part of the large-scale retrenchments and job cuts at Anglo Platinum.
“The mining group has already retrenched about 12 000 workers this year.
“Solidarity will now try to negotiate alternatives for its members with the contractor.”
However, Kleynhans added that he was confident that the retrenchments could be limited “because Solidarity members at the contractor possess scarce skills that are still in demand at various other mines where JIC still has contracts”.
JIC blamed the planned retrenchments on the recession, a dramatic decrease in commodity prices and a lack of demand for services in the mining industry, he said.
The retrenchment affected 628 Category B employees and 34 Category A employees, Kleynhans said.
Category A employees included officials, miners and artisans while Category B included employees such as operators and cleaners, he said.
Anglo Platinum spokesperson Mary-Jane Morifi said the company had announced several months ago that it would reduce its staff complement by 10 000.
“We pointed out that this would be due to natural attrition and a reduction in contract labour.”
She added that due to the economic environment, the company had decided to delay some projects that would be executed by contractors.
She said that during the year, 11 715 workers had left the company—“but this was not as a result of retrenchments”.
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